VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR Display Review


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VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 Detailed Features

In this section, I dive deeper into the 2017 VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 display. The first detail worth clarifying is what makes this generation of ‘smart’ televisions different than previous 4K UHD TVs. The primary difference between previously available 4K displays and this latest generation is HDR: the ability to display a wider color gamut with better light contrast. By utilizing High Dynamic Range technology with features such as XHDR Plus, Ultra Color Spectrum, and Xtreme Black Engine Plus, VIZIO can deliver Dolby Vision content like no other 4K before HDR.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Apps

As previously suggested, the 2017 SmartCast M-Series has modern cord-cutters in mind. With so much of today’s best programming coming by way of streaming services that already deliver content in 4K Ultra HD and Dolby Vision HDR, now is a good time to ditch cable. If content isn’t enough, then cost might be, as you can pick and choose.

Dolby Vision is the preferred HDR mastering choice for major studios and creative professionals because of its impressive color range, so expect new movies and streaming content to utilize this feature. 2017 VIZIO SmartCast M-series home theater displays come with Dolby Vision content already embedded for demonstration of their XHDR Plus technology. To view this content, bring up the Menu and navigate to: System > Reset & Admin > Store Demo.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Angle Left

The 2017 SmartCast TV includes these streaming apps: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, iHeart Radio, XUMO, VUDU, Fandango Now, HaystackTV, and Pluto. If there’s another app you like, such as YouTube, simply open that app from your device and ‘Cast’ to the display. Additionally, Android and iOS smartphone users may install VIZIO’s free SmartCast Mobile app for even more service options and virtual remote control for the 2017 M-Series.

If you’re a cord-cutter, but prefer to download your content to a portable drive, there’s a USB 2.0 port located at the back of the unit. On larger models, there are two USB ports available. While the user manual claims the M-series requires that USB storage devices be formatted FAT32 and contain only MP4 video files, these displays recognized and played NTFS drives with just fine; offering better CODECs than my 2017 Roku in fact.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Rear Ports

At the back (bottom and left side) of the SmartCast unit are a collection of modern connections. Analog component video with stereo audio input, collectively labeled ‘better’, give this display wide-reaching backward compatibility. Analog stereo and digital optical audio output also enable sound to a wide variety of legacy home theater devices. There’s also an Ethernet port, should a wired Internet connection be preferred over the wireless options.

The digital ports are labeled ‘best’ by VIZIO. HDMI port #1 is version 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 and ARC (Audio Return Channel) for attached audio hardware. This particular port connects at a 600 MHz pixel clock rate ([email protected] 4:4:4 8-bit, [email protected] 4:2:2 12-bit, [email protected] 4:2:0 12-bit). On the other hand, HDMI ports #2-3-4 are each version 1.4 with HDCP 2.2, and connect at a 340 MHz pixel clock rate ([email protected] 4:2:0 8-bit).
VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Side Ports

Lightweight and ready for wall mounting, all 2017 SmartCast M-series home theater displays include a set of steel support stands that affix within the bezel’s outer underside. On the 50″ SmartCast M50-E1, the model received for testing, these steel support legs measured nearly 40″ from their outer edges. The 65″ model measures 47.2″. This works well with tabletop and wall mounted locations, however placement on other surfaces may require planning.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Remote Control

Even in this age of connected devices, people (like me) will still occasionally choose a physical remote control over the virtual alternative available with the SmartCast Mobile app. The 50″ model I received came with the VIZIO XRT135 remote control, shown above, and requires two AAA batteries (included) to power the unit. Although it’s a full-featured device, the 65″ model I purchased came with the XRT136, which has quick-launch buttons. If needed, a basic set of power, volume, and input select buttons are available at the left side of the display.

In the next section, I offer my final thoughts on 4K UHD displays and deliver my conclusion…


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